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The arms deal committee set up by the African National Congress (ANC) was a device to protect its president Jacob Zuma, United Democratic Movement leader Bantu Holomisa said on Wednesday.
He was reacting to a decision by the ANC's national executive committee to appoint eight of its own members to draw up a "detailed factual report" on the deal and consider the "broader context" of the criminal case against Zuma.
Holomisa said the UDM's difficulty with this was that the information the committee required would have to come from state institutions charged with investigating crime and corruption in this country.
"South Africans have given a mandate to the ANC to run the administration of this country until 2009," he said.
"Therefore the envisaged request from an ANC faction should not be entertained by the government as this will no doubt interfere with the current investigations on the arms deal.
"What comes out very clearly is that the exercise the committee intends doing is to protect the ANC president and others who are subjects of investigation, a situation which the UDM can never support."
Instead, the NEC should ask the government to authorise a preliminary investigation, headed by a judge, on the need to establish a judicial commission of inquiry.
This preliminary probe should also look at the so-called political conspiracy against Zuma, so that the matter was laid to rest once and for all. - Sapa